Hunger Strike for Santa Cruz Homeless - Homeless United for

Tom Boland (
Thu, 6 May 1999 04:30:14 -0700 (PDT)


Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 00:02:33 -0700
From: Becky Johnson <>
Subject: Hunger Strike for Santa Cruz Homeless

Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom

309 Cedar St. #14B -- Santa Cruz, Ca. USA 95060

PH: (831)423-HUFF FAX: (831)429-8529 e-mail

"I think we should interrupt the sleep of people who pass such laws."

Howard Zinn 10/25/97*

*Speaking in response to the Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban at an event sponsored
by the Resource Center for Nonviolence

Saturday, May 1, 1999=20


Day 16 of Hunger Strike

Seeks Better Food/Conditions

at the Homeless Services Center

Lou Rice has been fasting since April 15th on the steps of the Santa Cruz
Main Post Office demanding better services for the homeless of Santa Cruz
from the Homeless Services Center (HSC). Drinking only water, black
coffee, and a little lemon juice, Rice is forgoing all sustenance to draw
attention to the conditions at the day center at 115 Coral St.

"We need a drinking fountain. As it is now, if we are thirsty we must
drink out of the sink they put the mop buckets in." Rice, a HSC client,
cites many problems: poor nutrition, cleanliness, and insufficient
portions at HSC=92s Free Meal, the twice daily feeding of homeless people.
Also that the mats in the HSC's ISSP shelter program are too thin and 28
spaces each night is grossly inadequate to meet the need for shelter for
Santa Cruz's estimated 500 - 1500 homeless people. Rice claims staff
members treat clients with inadequate respect so that anyone who complains
is put out. He says homeless people are not represented on the Board of
Directors for the HSC and that many donations are not reaching homeless

Rice is asking anyone concerned about these conditions to call the members
of the Board of Directors of the Homeless Services Center. Members include
Linda Steinau, Donna Maurillo, Rowland Rebele, Peg Smith, Dianne Low,
James King, Don Lane, Marsha Shanle, Judge Robert Yonts, and Mayor
Katherine Beiers. The HSC office number is (831) 458-6022.


Homeless people may have won a significant battle in the traffic court of
Referee John Mulligan in a decision by Referee Patterson April 30th. At
issue was a $197 warrant ordering Dennis Rehm to pay a fine for sleeping
in his vehicle last fall. Rehm is a homeless man, who still sleeps nightly
in his camper in the City. City law bars all sleeping outside or in
vehicles from 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. On the September morning when police
ticketed him, there was legal shelter for less than 30 of Santa Cruz's
homeless people. Rehm, a carpenter who was found guilty of sleeping at 8
a.m. in the morning (though he said he was not), refused to pay the fine
or to do Community Service, calling the ordinance "an unjust violation of
human rights."

Rehm's attorney, Kate Wells, used the Flory/Edwards defense, pioneered by
homeless activists Robert Flory and Linda Edwards, which relies on a state
attorney general=92s opinion (63 Opts. Attny Gen. 418 [1980]). That opinion
forbids jail as a punishment for not paying a fine arising from a minor
non-vehicular infraction. The Court, Wells said, could sue Rehm to attach
his wages or property, but could not jail him. Referee Patterson agreed
the warrant had been illegally issued, but added that it would probably be
reissued within 24 hours. Rehm assured the judge he would go to jail
rather than pay. Wells said she might seek a Writ of Mandate to stop the
endless round of court appearances. The ruling could effectively nullify
the Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010a) by providing no practical remedy for the
court to seek payment of fines from homeless people convicted of sleeping
who have little income or assets.


4,000+ POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy